There were no official examination rooms within the Apricot Woods. However, the quiet forest contained free standing, enclosed courtyard residences that sat in a line about ten steps apart. The four patients were each assigned a courtyard by the time the three department heads and Gu Beiyue arrived.
Each treatment residence was given one young medical assistant in change of announcing the progress of treatment. Since this was a competition, any advancements in the patient’s illness or the doctor’s treatment would have to be publicized. Now the results of the draw had been determined, news spread beyond the Apricot Woods to the waiting crowd outside. All of them were most interested in Gu Beiyue’s obstructed labor case.
Within the woods, the three department heads each had empty courtyards, while Gu Beiyue’s was stuffed with so many spectators that there wasn’t even a place to stand. Everyone was willing to wait outside Gu Beiyue’s courtyard than delve into the situation of the other three courtyards. Even the judging panel was hanging around his doors.
After all, his was an urgent case!
Han Yunxi and Gu Qishao sat in seats behind the judging panel as they watched servant girls carry in basins of hot water and multiple cries of pain from within. She wished she could charge in and help, while Gu Qishao was sunk in a rare moment of seriousness without a smile.
Clan Head Xiao from the south central regions eventually pushed his way through the crowd until he was behind Han Yunxi. In a low voice, he murmured, “Esteemed wangfei, don’t worry. Doctor Gu can definitely do it.”
As soon as Han Yunxi recognized his voice, she turned to give him a glare. Then she looked back without speaking a word. She still remembered the debt for his crimes!
By now, Gu Beiyue had been cloistered inside for two hours along with the pained mother. But the medical assistant still hadn’t come out to announce anything. Judging from that, Han Yunxi could guess that the woman’s water still hadn’t broke. For childbirth to occur, the water had to break first. Sustaining labor pains like this would only sap at the mother’s strength and weaken her psychologically.
Gu Beiyue and the midwife both understood this logic, so they would comfort the woman as best as they could to keep her calm instead of crying and wasting her energy. But why was the woman still sobbing? Either Gu Beiyue couldn’t calm her down, or she was in extreme pain. In any other case, no news was good news, but no news was bad news here!
Commentary and discussions grew in the crowd as the time stretched out. Han Yunxi’s heart was all sixes and sevens in her chest. In modern times, they could break the woman’s water with manmade means, but what could Gu Beiyue do now? She hardly dared to imagine the consequences if the mother remained in agony. Would she die right in the delivery room?
Finally, the medical assistant emerged from a side door. The crowd shut up to listen to him speak.
“Doctor Gu has determined that the woman is pregnant with four infants, but her water hasn’t broken yet.”
“That’s it, it’s over. He’ll have to save either the mother or the children!”
“If only one side can survive, do we even need Gu Beiyue? Just use the midwife!”
“This...her water still hasn’t broken yet. We don’t know the positions of the infants either. It’s possible we could lose both them and the mother!”
At this point, many people forgot about the competition and starting worrying about human lives instead. But then the cries in the room suddenly ceased.
The medical assistant dashed inside before coming out with a fresh report. “Doctor Gu has used needles to minimize the pain of the mother.”
Hearing this, Han Yunxi finally felt better, while everyone else exhaled as well. At least the mother would be able to preserve some energy if she stopping screaming in pain. She needed the strength to push out her babies after her water breaks.
“Using needles to stop the pain? Heheh, ingenious and clever! Gu Beiyue can certainly think of ways,” someone praised.
Han Yunxi smiled. In the modern times, this would be called a painless delivery, which was usually effected with medicine. She never thought Gu Beiyue could accomplish the same task with just a few acupuncture needles, how formidable! It was impressive that he could even think up the method and put it to use!
Inside the room, a black cloth rested on the mother’s body to hide her awkward bits. The midwife was at the foot of her body while Gu Biyue sat at the mother’s head, carefully working his needles. The mother’s face was ashen white and soaked in sweat from exhaustion. But her eyes were still open as she looked at the gentleman with the eyes as warm as jade. It was as if he held all the safety and hope in the world. She wasn’t sure whether it was his needles or his hands that held the magic, but all of her pain had disappeared.
Gu Beiyue soon noticed the woman’s stare. Unmoved and unchanged, his words were very stern. “If you want to keep every single child, you must close your eyes and rest. This is your duty.”
Alarmed, the woman instantly shut her eyes. Only then did Gu Beiyue continue setting the needles while instructing, “Go make a bowl of rooster soup and add some ginseng.”
Inside the room, everything turned peaceful along with the expectant mother’s silence. But everyone outside were still waiting anxiously. Very soon, the medical assistant came to report that the mother’s water had finally broken. The midwife was delivering a child while Doctor Gu was still using acupuncture to ease her pain. Finally, every exhaled in relief.
Unexpectedly, another day and night passed without a single child being born. This was already the limit. Once all of the amniotic fluid left the womb or any bit of got contaminated, the infants would be in danger! Waiting for medical treatment now wouldn’t save the children! The crowd felt their hearts seize up just as the medical assistant announced bad news.
“The first child is a breech delivery! If it doesn’t come out, it’ll really be obstructed labor!”
Breech delivery meant that the baby came out feet first. Silence fell upon the crowd. Clan Head Ren abruptly rose to his feet, his voice alarmed. “Does Gu Beiyue have any solutions? What’s he going to do?”
If the mother couldn’t birth her children, then they would have to choose between preserving one or the other. If they wanted to save the babies, then they’d force open the mother regardless of damage and carry it out. The mother would then die from excessive blood loss. If they wanted to save the mother, then they’d have to cut off the little one.
Before the medical assistant could reply, the mother’s husband ran out from the side rooms to kneel in front of the judging panel. “We want to change the doctor! We want to change the doctor!”
The medical academy naturally sought the family’s approval before submitting these patients for the medical skills competition. However, with life and death at stakes, the relatives had more faith in the department heads. If it wasn’t for the competition, they wouldn’t have a chance at finding one of them for treatment even if the mother had ten babies to born. Seventh rank Sage Doctors were harder to find than some fourth or fifth rank physicians. But at a time like this, they naturally wanted the best doctors available.
The judging panel grew uncertain as well. There might be a chance of survival if the case was handed to another seventh-rank doctor, but things were unpredictable in fifth-rank Divine Doctor Gu Beiyue’s hands.
What to do?
While the panel discussed amongst themselves, Clan Head Ren had people summon the three department heads over as well as the medical academy’s obstetrics specialists. The medical skills competition was temporarily halted as they focused on saving human lives. Han Yunxi’s gaze grew complicated. Her only comfort was that the medical academy still had some sense of human compassion and knew to put lives first.
The three department heads and a few female doctors arrived at the examination hall to understand the current situation. After more discussion, they emerged with no better ideas than to save either one or the other. The husband sank to the ground in despair, stuck with the most painful decision of his life.
“Please decide quickly. If you don’t, it’ll be impossible to save either side,” Department Head Lin urged.
“What did Doctor Gu say?” Han Yunxi asked anxiously. Was he part of their talks? Was he still using the needles? What were his opinions?
“What else can Doctor Gu do besides stopping the pain?” Department Head Lin smiled coldly.
When they entered the room just then, Gu Beiyue not only ignored them, but told them to get out. They couldn’t be bothered to argue with him then and let him use his needles while they held their talks.
“Save the mother or the children, hurry and decide!” Department Head Ouyang pressed as well.
The husband’s eyes were red with tears. Finally, he was forced to pick a side. “The children!”
These were quadruplets. It was possible to save all four if he chose them, but saving the mother would only leave one person behind.
“Please restrain your grief!” a female doctor sighed. She turned to go in, but was stopped by the medical assistant.
“Please hold. Doctor Gu said, he can save both the mother and children. Everyone, calm down.”
The female doctor gave a start before she knitted her brows. “Is Gu Beiyue insane? Where does he have the skills to save them both? This is just the ravings of a lunatic!”
“That’s what Doctor Gu said. He told me to guard the door. Besides changing the water, no one’s allowed to disturb him.”
“Ridiculous! This is simply asking for trouble! If it’s a matter of life and death, he doesn’t have the right to run rampant! What can a mere fifth-rank Divine Doctor who doesn’t even specialize in obstetrics do?”
Department Head Lin lost his temper and stepped forward to push the medical assistant aside so he could charge in, but someone kicked his leg and sent him sprawling.
Gu Qishao rested his foot over Department Head Lin’s heart while grinning at the crowd. “If anyone tries to barge inside, this old man guarantees that we’ll lose some lives out here today!”
“Gu Qishao! You dare!” Department Head Huo raged.
“Someone come, take away this madman!” Department Head Ouyang cried desperately.
Unfortunately, none of the guards dared to approach them, because Gu Qishao’s foot was right over Department Head Lin’s heart. They might not understand Gu Qishao, but they knew Gu Qi Sha all too well. He was a vicious, ruthless type without question. The two department heads looked towards Han Yunxi along with the rest of the female doctors, trying to coax her to their side.
“Qin Wangfei, if this drags on, we’ll really lose human lives! We’ve seen so many cases like these. If a solution really existed, would we need Doctor Gu? Moreover, when has he ever taken on childbirth cases? Right?”
“Esteemed wangfei, try to convince him. Doctor Gu can’t be like this, he can’t experiment with human lives!”
“The situation’s urgent, is esteemed wangfei just going to watch these lives die?”
Han Yunxi ignored them all and walked to the door with hands crossed over her chest. The hopeless husband suddenly threw himself at Gu Qishao and screamed, “All of you, get lost! You guys are simply murderers! Do you want to kill my children? Gu Beiyue, get out, I don’t believe you! I don’t! I want the children! The children…”
There was no reaction from within the rooms.
Gu Qishao shoved the man aside, so he ran for Han Yunxi instead. Fortunately, Gu Qishao blocked him before he could reach her.
“Han Yunxi, what right do you have to stand here? You guys want to experiment on my wife, don’t you?” the man accused.
“What right do you have to pick the mother or the children? Your wife has her opinions, too. She’s the only one with the right to decide! Her life is her own, and she’s the one who worked hard carrying those babies for the past ten months!”
Han Yunxi’s words awed the man into silence. Meanwhile, she told the medical assistant to hurry in and ask the mother for her choice.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I'll make up the 2 missing chapters later this week! Gu Beiyue is my weakness...he saps inspiration to translate out of me whenever he features, isn't that weird? xD